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June 16, 2014

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Alarm raised over slow claims process for Huronia case By JULiUs meLniTZer For Law Times he lawyers who achieved a $35-million class action settlement for survivors of provincially operated resi- dential institutions for people with developmental disabilities have ac- cused the Ontario public guardian and trustee of failing to act in the best interests of the class members it represents in dealing with their claims in the landmark case. "Since the settlement was reached it appears to us that the PGT has continually sought to im- pose restrictions and impediments to the filing of claims for its class members," says Kirk Baert of To- ronto's Koskie Minsky LLP in a re- cent letter calling on Superior Court Justice Barbara Conway, who ap- proved the settlement in September 2013, to direct the provincial office "to undertake every effort to ensure that appropriate claims are made for its class member clients prior to the claims deadline." But Brendan Crawley, spokes- man for the Ministry of the Attor- ney General, noted in an e-mail that the public guardian and trustee has brought more than 1,000 class ac- tion claims on behalf of its clients in the last few years. "The PGT takes its duties as a guardian very seriously and always with honesty, integrity, and good faith to advance its clients' claims and act in the best interest of those clients," wrote Crawley. "In advancing these claims, the PGT always works with class counsel in an effort to achieve the same goal — to advance the claims of clients and ensure that individ- uals who suffered harm are prop- erly compensated." Crawley wouldn't, however, comment on the particulars of the case. The controversy arises in the wake of the settlements in Dolmage v. Ontario and McKillop and Bechard v. HMQ that involved former residents of the Huronia Re- gional Centre, the Rideau Regional Centre, and the Southwestern Re- gional Centre. The public guardian represents some 400 class members. "Our view is that all 400 should be making a claim under the settle- ment," says Baert's co-counsel and colleague, David Rosenfeld. Visit carswell.com or call 1.800.387.5164 for a 30-day no-risk evaluation )BSECPVOEȕ1VCMJTIFE'FCSVBSZFBDIZFBS 0OTVCTDSJQUJPOȕ- 0OFUJNFQVSDIBTFȕ- .VMUJQMFDPQZEJTDPVOUTBWBJMBCMF 1SJDFTTVCKFDUUPDIBOHFXJUIPVUOPUJDF]UPBQQMJDBCMFUBYFTBOETIJQQJOHIBOEMJOH CANADIAN LAW LIST 2014 :063*/45"/5$0//&$5*0/50$"/"%"Ȏ4-&("-/&5803, ȕ BOVQUPEBUFBMQIBCFUJDBMMJTUJOH ȕ DPOUBDUJOGPSNBUJPO ȕ MFHBMBOEHPWFSONFOUDPOUBDUJOGPSNBUJPO .03&5)"/"1)0/�, CLL-Dir_LT_Feb10_14.indd 1 14-01-31 12:11 PM Law firm standards applied to associations Court holds groups of lawyers to conflict, confidentiality protocols By yamri Taddese Law Times f lawyers who work in association with each other "hold themselves out as law firms," they're sub- ject to the same stringent conf lict and confidentiality protocols expected of law firms, a Superior Court judge has found. In a ruling this month, Justice David Stinson set aside a 2013 master's decision that rejected a presumption that lawyers who work in association with each other are sharing confidential client information. In an employment law case, Jajj v. 100337 Canada, the defendants sought to remove lawyer Ken- neth Alexander of the Davenport Law Group as the plaintiff 's counsel due to conf lict of interest con- cerns. The defendants had previously consulted with a lawyer who works in association with Alex- ander. The defendants argued for a presumption that the lawyer, Kevin Fox, had shared information with Alexander. "In my view, where lawyers who practise 'in association' nevertheless hold themselves out to the public and to their clients as a law firm, they should be treated as such and be held to the same conf lict requirements and professional obligations as a law firm," wrote Stinson. The lawyers used the same telephone and fax numbers, company letterhead, and e-mail domain, all of which gives outsiders the impression that the Davenport Law Group is a law firm, the judge found. "Nowhere on their letterhead or on Mr. Fox's business card is there any indication that DLG is not a law firm name under which various lawyers practise as partners," he wrote in Jajj. When Master Benjamin Glustein found the two lawyers hadn't discussed the case in his decision on the matter last year, he simply took Fox' word for it, according to Stinson. The judge added Fox' evidence didn't provide "insight" into the workings of the office space he shares with Alexander and how the lawyers prevent inadvertent communication of client files. "In the present case, the respondents' evidence that there is no cause for concern is, in essence, based on the assurance of Mr. Fox that there is no conf lict, and that he can be trusted to respect Rule 2.03(1)," wrote Stinson. "Despite having held himself out (as has Mr. Alexander) as a member of DLG, he now assures the court (after the fact) that he will not share any confidences with Mr. Alexander. For clients such as the defendant, having entrusted its confidences to another lawyer at DLG, that is cold comfort." WYNNE'S VICTORY Legal aid among budget winners P6 FOCUS ON Family Law P8 The Davenport Law Group will make it 'a little bit more explicit' that it's not a law firm, says Ken Alexander. See No, page 2 See Motion, page 2 Kirk Baert has written the court to express concern about the public guardian and trustee's actions in the Huronia, Rideau, and Southwestern Regional Centre cases. PM #40762529 DIVORCEmate's full-featured TOOLS CLOUD coming soon. For details, visit www.divorcemate.com ntitled-1 1 14-06-06 10:28 AM $4.00 • Vol. 25, No. 21 June 16, 2014 Follow LAW TIMES on www.twitter.com/lawtimes L aw TIMes L aw TIMes I Photo: Robin Kuniski TISSUE OWNERSHIP Master says it belongs to hospitals P5 T

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